Painting 101: Prep

We’ve been getting a lot of questions about the process of painting itself.  To us, it is second nature.  We've been painting everything from walls, floors and ceilings to dressers, chairs, and lamps for years and sometimes we forgot that many of you don’t spend your days covered in paint like we do.  We love your questions, so keep them coming!  We've decided to address the most popular of them in a series of posts called: Painting 101.

These posts will cover everything from painting basics to more in depth topics like custom finishes.   Feel free to send us emails, comment here or post on our facebook wall with any topic you’d like to see covered in Painting 101. For the first Painting 101 post, we thought it would be fitting to start at the beginning:  Prep.  Not the most fun job, but certainly important.  You've decided to paint a room.  What next?  We will go through all of the things you need to do before actually putting paint on the wall.  Don't worry - next week, we will cover the painting itself and of course, clean up.  Let's get started shall we? 

First things first.  You have to pick a color or colors for you room. We could write a whole post on this topic alone (and maybe we should!) but in the meantime, take a look at our palettes.  Lisa designed these specifically to help eliminate confusion when picking colors. A basic tip: Cool, deep colors recede and can make a room feel larger, particularly when used on one wall. Warm colors wrapped on walls and ceiling tend to make one feel comforted and cozy.  And of course, be sure you use our paint so that you don’t have to deal with those pesky toxins and annoying smells associated with other paints.


cool, receding wall.......  warm, enveloping color

Now that you have your paint, you need to prepare your supplies.  For the most efficient painting day make sure you have all of the following.  It will save you stress and annoyance:

  • Good quality angled 2+ inch paint brush
  • Paint cup or old Tupperware
  • Paper towels or old rags
  • Drop cloths (1-2)
  • Step ladder (or larger ladder if your ceilings are REALLY high)
  • Roller frame
  • Roller pads (enough for all painters and all colors)
  • Roller tray
  • Paint can opener (or butter knife)
  • Hammer and nail
  • Bucket filled with mild soapy water
  • Old sponge
  • Hammer and Nail
The following are nice, but may or may not be necessary:
  • Good play list
  • Painter's tape
  • Lights if natural light is not adequate
  • Wall puddy
  • Sand paper
  • Paint can opener (butter knife works well if needed)
  • Painters tape (optional)


Ok – whew.  Who knew you needed so much for a simple paint job. 

Now you can start!  Here is how step by step:

1. Wash the walls:

Get that soapy bucket of water and sponge and start cleaning your walls and more importantly your baseboards and woodwork.  (This is assuming your woodwork is already painted the color you want it to be… which is should be before you start painting your walls.  It is MUCH easier to wipe any accidental wall color drips off painted woodwork than getting woodwork paint off your pretty painted walls!)


Pay attention to the tops of door jams – even in the cleanest house, they tend to gather dust.  Gross, right?  All of that dust and dirt can otherwise get caught in your paintbrush and painted onto your walls making them rough.  (I swear that isn't my house.) 

 Now you can get rid of the sponge and bucket.  Two supplies down.  Let your walls dry completely. 

2. Open your paint: 

While your walls dry, open your paint.  Use your handy paint tool or your butter knife (Please do not use a sharp knife… it could end badly).  Pop off the top and admire the color that will soon be on your walls.  This is one of my favorite parts of painting...  It's that oohhh, ahhhh moment. 

3. Prep your paint/can: 

Take your hammer and nail and carefully drive the nail through the rim of the paint can twice, the second hole across from the first.  This will help paint drain from the rim back into the can after you pour the paint.  While this step is not a must, it is really helpful.  Then take your stir stick and give the paint a whirl.  You might notice that there is some pigment separation depending on how long you've let it sit before starting your project.  Have no fear, a few stirs will get everything incorporated again.  Do make sure you do this step even if it looks well-mixed. 


4. Tape your edges if you'd like (OPTIONAL): 

We will show you how to cut (or edge) without needing tape, but if it makes your more comfortable go ahead and tape. It's easy to wipe paint off your trim (again, IF it is painted!) but it is more difficult to fix the ceiling if you make a mistake there so if you want to save some time just tape the ceiling line. 

5.  Check your walls for any damage, holes, etc. 

Not everybody does this and it is up to you, but if you want really perfect walls it is worth doing this step.  Walk around your room with some spackle and a spackle knife.  When you find a hole scoop a little spackle on your knife and smush it into the hole, then scrape the excess off.  Do this to all holes and allow to dry.  Sand off any excess spackle.  You may want to prime over these areas also (especially if they are larger), as the puddy will suck in the pigment of the paint. 

ps. I've heard you can use toothpaste for this in a fix...  I've never tried it though.

Ok.  Now you are ready to paint!  I know it is a lot of work, but it really is so helpful to get this start out of the way before you start.  Tomorrow we will share a step by step guide to the actual painting process. Be sure to let us know if there is a specific topic you'd like to see covered!